The phrase “The customer is always right” was originally coined in 1909 by Harry Gordon Selfridge, the founder of Selfridge’s department store in London, and is typically used by businesses to convince customers that they will get good service at this company and convince employees to give customers good service.
Treating the customers like they are always right can actually be harmful to your business. It can dampen employee morale, use up vital resources, and even hurt your best customers.
“Not all customers deserve your company’s best efforts. And despite what the old adage says, the customer is most definitely not always right. Because in the world of customer centricity, there are good customers…and then there is everybody else.”‘Customer Centricity’ by Peter Fader
Most businesses think that “the more customers the better”. But some customers are quite simply bad for business.
Believe it or not, there are some customers you DON’T want. If a customer constantly complains, abuses employees, or creates stress for your company, they’re not worth it. It doesn’t matter how much money they pay.
Unhappy, irate, grumpy customers not only cause bad experiences for employees, they also make other customers miserable.
Using the slogan “The customer is always right,” abusive customers can demand just about anything — they’re right by definition, aren’t they? This makes the employees’ jobs that much harder when trying to rein them in.
Moreover believing the customer is always right is a subconscious way of favouring the customer over the employee which can lead to resentment among employees. When managers put the employees first, the employees will then put the customers first. Put employees first and they will be happy at work. When they are happy at work they will treat their customers well.
If you tell your employees to treat the customer like they’re always right, you’ll make the employees miserable. When it comes down to supporting your employees or supporting an insufferable, irate customer, you want to support your employees. You want customers to know that, while you value them, you won’t let them abuse your employees.
There will be times when a customer thinks they are the expert. But if you adopt, “The customer is always right,” policy, you can end up actually hurting your business. You kill employee morale, empower rude customers, slow down innovation, and even create unhappy experiences for other customers.